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The Kettlebell Show: Renegade Row and Variations

May 10, 2017
3 minute read

Hi guys! Welcome back for another episode of the kettlebell show. Travis, the kettlebell guy, here. Today I’m going to show you a couple of variations with the renegade row using a kettlebell.

This is one of my favorite exercises because it’s super challenging. You’re really working hard on the twisting and the ante rotation movement as you row holding that plank position. You also work all the muscles through the posterior chain of your back as well.

I’m going to show you a couple of variations. We’ll have a look at a more advanced variation first and then a couple of ways you can regress the exercise or use it in other ways that is more practical for a Bootcamp scenario so that you don’t need to have 2 kettlebells’ per participant. Something to note for this exercise, it’s best to use prograde kettlebells, simply because they cover more surface area. With the smaller kettlebells if you’re using, let’s say, a 4kg kettlebell, or one of those 4kg cast iron kettlebells, there’s not a lot of surface area at the bottom of those and, therefore, they’re not as stable on the ground.

The large kettlebells work best and obviously with these exercises you also want very stable ground. You don’t particularly want to be on grass or sand or anything like that where there’s movement because if the kettlebell is not stable and it flips, you can hurt yourself or your clients.

Now to the exercise and body position. Start with the ketllebells under your shoulders basically front on and place your body on a high plank position.

This position requires balance and what you’ll find here is, depending on where your clients are, where their base might need to be. You might need to have your feet a bit wider than shoulders’ width apart or you can go a bit narrower. For me personally, I like to stick with a base at about somewhere just outside shoulder width. That’s where I find it most comfortable.

Moving to your arms now, there’s a couple of points to notice. When you’re on the bells, make sure the bell sits right over the palm of your hand. As you will see in the video, the bell is not up on my knuckles putting all the weight and a lot of pressure on my wrist. The right position of your hand is up on top with your thumb around the bell. Personally, I prefer to place my thumb in the front of the handle and having my arm in a straight position taking the weight from my palm, taking it up to my forearms, all the way to my shoulders.

Position both kettlebells so that the handles are on a 45-degree angle instead of 90 degrees. Now row one kettlebell at a time to complete a standard renegade row.

One variation I like to use in my Bootcamp a lot and which saves you bringing down 2 kettlebells per person, is a bench single kettlebell renegade row.

It’s quite simple and straight forward. Just make sure you use a bench that’s solid. Your hands are up on the bench and you’re holding a plank position, feet shoulders’ width apart, and with one kettlebell sitting on the floor straight down from your chest. Reach down, grab the kettelbell with one hand while the other hand is holding you in your plank on top of the bench, then row that kettelbell up. Change sides, row up with the other arm.

As you’re rowing up, your elbow should be closer to your body not wide open away from you. I like this variation in a Bootcamp because you only need 1 kettlebell per person and it’s a bit harder and more interesting than just a standard bend over row.

The reason we’re using the bench is because, unlike being on the ground, you have a lot more space for the row, compared to when you’re on the floor. You also get that nice strong plank position. Be careful and make sure your clients don’t put their hips too high when they’re planking either.

Those are some variations I love to use with the renegade row. It’s a great movement, it really gets your heart rate high specially using the double kettlebells and there are a few other variations that you can look at later on down the track. Don’t forget to check out our CECs Kettlebell Course approved by Fitness Australia. Essential to get workout ideas to add to your Bootcamp or for your own development as a personal trainer. Check out our level 1 and level 2 kettlebell course all online here!

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About The Author: Jono Petrohilos
Online Course Creator I 2020 Fitness Australia Educator of the Year

Jono is the co-founder and director at Fitness Education Online. Fitness Education Online is one of the leading providers in the world when it comes to delivering online education to Fitness Professionals, providing over 30 registered CEC courses.

Fitness Education Online is also the admins of the largest Facebook Group in Australia / New Zealand for Fitness Professionals (Fitness Education Online Community Facebook Group).

Jono is also a qualified Exercise Physiologist, best selling author (The Bootcamp Blueprint), and the host of the successful podcast “Fitness Education Online Podcast”.

Jono is the current 2020 Fitness Educator of the Year (awarded by Fitness Australia)

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